The National Parenting Center

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Dealing Effectively with Moody Teenagers

At about 15 many teens go through a period of being introspective and moody. They seem to be thinking through how they feel about themselves and figuring out how this perception matches with what others think of them. Most of them work through this and come to terms with their self image by age 16.

Ups and downs during the teen years are normal, and if a young girl has a previous history of confidence, she can probably handle the ups and downs just fine. However, do watch for signs of serious depression, such as noticeable changes in her grades, her friends, her eating and sleeping habits, her grooming, etc. A combination of these symptoms could be signs of stress or of drug use.

Teens who cope best with their moods have parents who take time to listen and talk, parents who respect them and who are in turn respected. These are parents who are responsible, and who expect their kids to be responsible too.

It’s true that straight ahead compliments are not always taken graciously by teens, but they still need them. Make praise genuine, descriptive and meaningful. All of the following tips are other ways you can compliment your teen and build self esteem.

* Respect her growing need for privacy in both thinking and space.

* Encourage her to have her friends over as often as possible. (In a way this is actually a compliment.)

* Show her you love her for who she is as a person, not just for what she can achieve.

* Don’t do something for her that she can do for herself.

* Don’t manage her time for her; teach her to manage her own time.

* Be accessible for conversation any time, any place.

* Brainstorm together and problem solve. Show genuine respect for her ideas, even if you disagree or don’t use all of them.

* Make sure she knows that you believe she can make choices in her own best long term interest.

* Show confidence in her judgment whenever possible.

* Expect her best and praise her for giving it.


Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country.Evelyn Petersen’s nationally syndicated parenting column is carried in over 200 newspapers twice each week. As a family/parenting consultant, early childhood educator, Head Start consultant, and host of a series of parent training audio and video tapes, Ms. Petersen employs an approach of providing hands-on, nuts and bolts advice to parents across the country. You can read more from Evelyn at her web site: www.askevelyn.com

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